That much is obvious; we expect the headliners to be brilliant.
Anyone with a pair of flip flops and a smart phone can give you a list of the best Hangout moments on Sunday night when the music has stopped and the amps are being packed away.
But how about all those bands in small type at the bottom of the lineup, way below Kings of Leon, The Shins and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? The Up And Comers playing the early time slot and the Next Big Things, who don’t even have an album out yet?
Since you live in North Alabama, I’m going to assume you already have Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit locked in on your schedule. (Sunday, 6:30-7:45, BMI Stage.)
So here are five other fabulous Hangout moments you may not see coming:
Hidden Hangout Festival Moment #5: Thursday Kickoff Party
Hangout’s Thursday night lineup often seems like something of an afterthought, but the early birds will feast in 2013. Birmingham’s St. Paul and the Broken Bones have been generating so much buzz that they were bumped to a later time and a double set. Hayes Carll is legit Texas country who can be witty, irreverent and catchy all at the same time. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and RailRoad Earth will provide the evening’s quality Americana. Yes, you’ll have to pony up an extra 45 bucks (or have a VIP pass), but this year’s Kickoff Party will be worth it.
- Date and Time: Thursday, May 16th
- Time: 2-11pm
- Location: Letting Go Stage, BMI Stage and Boom Boom Tent
A short story: I had to twist my friend’s arm to show up Sunday morning at last year’s Hangout because I wanted see a little-known band out of Colorado that had just released a terrific album. They put on a great set in front of a tiny crowd that ended up on many Hangout highlights lists. That band was The Lumineers.
Nashville’s The Wild Feathers have a full-length debut coming later this year and you won’t find a lot of their music out there right now. But if you want to take a chance on a band that could explode by the end of the year, while the rest of the crowd is flocking to Best Coast, I’ll see you at The Wild Feathers. [spacer size=”0″]
- Date: Sunday, May 19th
- Time: 12:15-1:15pm
- Location: BMI Stage
I found myself trying to explain Space Capone’s music the other day and failed miserably. Sometimes, only listening will do justice. Part ’80s funk, part soul, part R&B and all fun, Space Capone’s vibe is perfect for the beach. If you don’t believe me, stop reading these words and listen to his 2012 self-titled album. I dare you not to dance.
- Date: Sunday, May 19th
- Time: 4:15-5:15pm
- Location: BMI Stage [spacer size=”0″]
With a voice that’s part Stevie Nicks and part Bonnie Raitt, Nicki Bluhm will rock the sunglasses right off your face. Bluhm and the Gramblers are on a roll this year with their old-school country-tinged rock and Hangout is the perfect time to catch them, before more people get in on the secret. Want a little hint at the Gramblin’ good time coming to the Chevrolet Stage on Saturday afternoon? Check out their collection of raw “Van Sessions.”
- Date: Saturday, May 18th
- Time: 12:30-1:30pm
- Location: Chevrolet Stage
Okay, the husband-wife duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, also known as Shovels & Rope, are not exactly flying under the music scene radar anymore. Their album “O’ Be Joyful,” released last July, landed on practically every Best of 2012 list by the end of the year.
And they played at Huntsville’s very own Concerts On The Dock only a month before the album dropped. But if you somehow haven’t caught up to this gritty, southern honky-tonk spectacular yet, get ready to sprint all the way down the beach when Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers are done at the Chevrolet Stage. You won’t want to miss a moment of this one.
- Date: Saturday May 18th
- Time: 1:30pm
- Location: on Hangout Stage